Three teens charged in attack; another charged with witness harassment

Three teens charged in attack; another charged with witness harassment

UPDATED 4:20 p.m. Friday

CHAMPAIGN — Three Champaign teens have been charged in connection with an October attack on an Australian researcher visiting Champaign-Urbana who was beaten, robbed and dumped in a field north of Champaign.

Champaign police Thursday arrested Ralph Clifford Gray, 17, and Dorian Wills, 17, who both listed the same address in the 1100 block of Northwood Drive South, for the Oct. 21 attack on Clinton Fookes, a 33-year-old visitor to Champaign-Urbana.

They were charged Friday with aggravated kidnapping and robbery, as was Anthony D. Davis, 17, whose last known address was in the 2400 block of North Neil Street. Bond was set at $750,000 for each.

Detective Robb Morris, who has worked the case since it happened, said Davis is currently in the Department of Corrections. Two other teens were with them the night of the robbery but Morris said they will likely not be charged since they had no role in the attack.

Another man was charged Friday with harassment of a witness for allegedly threatening to kill on Thursday one of the men who was cooperating with Champaign police.

Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler said Lawrence Miller, 18, of the 700 block of Sherwood Terrace, Champaign, is not believed to have been involved in the attack on Fookes but is friends with some of the men who are accused. He's being held in lieu of $250,000 bond and is due back in court Feb. 7.

Fookes is a researcher in artificial intelligence who came to the United States for a conference in Washington, D.C., and decided to visit colleagues at the Department of Computer Science at the UI.

He had been staying at the Holiday Inn on North Lincoln Avenue in Urbana and was supposed to leave for home on the day of his attack, which left him hospitalized for five days with bleeding on the brain, a broken nose, a cut to the head and scrapes and bruises.

Morris said when Fookes left his hotel that night, he planned to get something to eat and to play pool.

He made his way to downtown Champaign on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 20, and visited a couple of bars but was not impaired by alcohol, Morris said.

Because Fookes couldn't remember much of what happened, Morris had little to go on when the attack was first reported.

What he did know was that the victim was found naked from the waist down and bleeding in the 4300 block of North Mattis Avenue, about a half-mile north of the High School of St. Thomas More, on Friday, Oct. 21, about 8 a.m.

His watch, identification and other personal effects were missing. Covered in blood, he staggered to the road and tried to flag down help. Morris said more than three dozen cars went by before someone stopped to help him.

Morris said it was information developed from the stolen items that led police to the suspects.

"We were able to identify and locate the mini-van that was used. It was stolen. And we discovered there were five people in the van, not including the victim. All five have been identified," he said, adding that Wills, Gray and Davis were the three primarily responsible for the beating and kidnapping.

Morris said he has taken statements from four of the five and learned that robbery was on their mind that night.

"Before this group went out that night, they got together at someone's house and had a conversation about the fact that none of them had any money and they needed to get some. So they left the house that night with the intent to commit a robbery," he said.

The van they were using had been stolen Oct. 17 from the 2400 block of North Neil St. Morris said he's unsure who stole it.

By the time the group encountered Fookes, he had already left downtown Champaign and it was after midnight on Thursday, Oct. 20.

"They encountered him east of Lincoln on Green Street in Urbana and I think it was too busy a location to do anything there. They coaxed him into getting into the van and they drove to a nearby park," he said.

"He doesn't remember anything about this. He thought there were four to five involved and a van but had the color wrong and no significant memory of anything else. I think he realized he was horribly lost and wanted a ride," Morris said, explaining why the man would have taken the ride.

The group drove him to Crystal Lake, robbed him, beat him, then dumped him half naked in a field on North Mattis Avenue.

"When he came to, he saw lights and went to the house. It was unoccupied and went to the barn to find a way to keep warm. They stripped him of his pants, underwear, socks and shoes," Morris said.

Morris said he got his first solid lead in the case on Halloween and "then it was just steady progress with information after that."

He said he spoke with Fookes Thursday and learned that he is recovering nicely and is back to work.

"He's surprised we were able to piece this together and very happy with our progress," said Morris.

Comments embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

allergic to stupid wrote on January 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Everytime I read something out of the police report there is a juvenile commiting serious crimes here. time for 2 things to happen in illinois. 1- Parents to start paying attention and disciplining their kids, and 2- Illinois needs to be conceal and carry.

Fromthearea wrote on January 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

How are the other two not being charged if they met up BEFORE they went out and all premeditatedly talked about how they needed money and wanted to rob somebody???  Get these people the heck out of here!  I'm glad they're old enough to be tried as adults.  

This was a researcher from another country that they did this sick thing to, this does not reflect well on our community, or our university.  I am really worried for everybody here as well as the university.  Say what you want as a local about your experiences in dealing with the university, but it is the bread and butter of this area.  This uptick in crime will at some point affect it, and all of us along with it.  This is very disturbing.

silenceisgolden wrote on January 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm

All gun owners call you state represenative to not support anti gun bills 1294  1599  1855

















areader wrote on January 28, 2012 at 6:01 am

Not only is this an embarrassment to the cities of Champaign and Urbana that some PUNKS decide they don't have any money and attack a foreign visitor, it is also totally DISGUSTING!  PUT THESE PUNKS AWAY!!!!!!  They can sit in jail for awhile and think about what they did!  PS  It's also terribly wrong to attack local citizens too!  We need to get these _______ off the streets!  This makes me sick!

Mqqneyes wrote on January 28, 2012 at 6:01 am

  Let's get something straight here, conceal and carry law is not going to help a visitor from Australia. You freakin gun toters should be more concerned about how all these people drove past this poor man and didnt stop to help him. I am sick and tired of the far right these days thinking that some boggie man is coming to take something from them, but at the same time could care less about there fellow man. I can't put you all in the same bucket but I am guessing you are mostly the same group that boo's health care for ALL, the golden rule, and gay soldiers that are protecting OUR country! Wake up and take care of your fellow man, NOT with a gun, but with compassion.

freechampaign wrote on January 28, 2012 at 7:01 am

So is all your ranting helping your fellow man. Are you suggesting that all the people that drove by this person were all far right gun toters? Did not see that in the article anywhere.

jdmac44 wrote on January 28, 2012 at 8:01 am

The point is that something like this could have happened to any of us and while the police did a great job of investigating they were helpless to do anything when the man was accosted. We gun toters want the option to do something if at all possible in the case that we're attacked. If you choose to remain helpless, that's your business.

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 28, 2012 at 8:01 am

I would not be worried about how this reflects on the university.  The university's image is already in the trash.  This was an unfortunate incident regardless of whether the person was a researcher, or John Q citizen.  The university's image is a joke right now due to three clowns.

yates wrote on January 28, 2012 at 9:01 am

Maybe if these punks were made examples of with really long prision terms it might deter others. But don't worry they won't be. They will be good little gangstas in prision and shortly returned to society to do it again.

LeslieM wrote on January 28, 2012 at 11:01 am

I still don't think it is right that the 2 kids aren't going to be charged. They may have not actually put their hands on this poor gentleman, but they knew what was going to happen and they also failed to report it. I think they should be charged just to prove a point. THAT STUPID CRIMES LIKE THIS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. Kids need to be shown that even if they didn't touch someone they can still get in trouble for not reporting it or doing something before hand to stop it. This is just showing people that its ok to watch someone beat someone else and nothing will happen to them. As far as I am concerned they should have put street lights down all the dark streets in campus town and other main streets leading towards campus. Maybe if it was better lit so many attacks wouldn't happen.